2008 Oregon State Beavers Football Preview
Oregon State 2007 Record: (9-4, 6-3 Pac 10)
2007 Bowl: Emerald Bowl vs. Maryland (W 21-14)
Oregon State Head Coach: Mike Riley (47-38 at Oregon State, 47-38 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Danny Langsdorf
Defensive Coordinator: Mark Banker
Returning Leaders for Oregon State:
Other Key Returnees: TE Howard Croom, CB Brandon Hughes, OT Andy Levitre, QB Lyle Moevao, G Jeremy Perry, G Adam Speer
Key Losses: RB Yvenson Bernard, WR Anthony Brown, DT Curtis Coker, LB Alan Darlin, C Kyle DeVan, LB Derrick Doggett, S Daniel Drayton, LB Joey LaRocque, DT Gerard Lee, K/P Alexis Serna, G Roy Schuening, DE Dorian Smith, DE Jeff Van Orsow
How important was Yvenson Bernard to Oregon State’s offense? We will find out. The running back averaged over 110 yards per game during his senior season and reached the endzone a total of 14 times. Redshirt freshman Ryan McCants has the potential to be better than Bernard…a lot better…but he still has to prove it. Senior Patrick Fuller only carried the ball ten times last year and it seems like it is already McCants time to shine.
Oregon State's Strengths:
The Beavers rush defense was the best in the nation last year. It will not be a strength this year, but luckily the pass defense should be improved. Keenan Lewis, Brandon Hughes and Al Afalava are all returning starters and all seniors. And they get plenty of quality practice time going up against what might just be the best group of receivers in the Pac-10. Sammie Stroughter is back after missing nearly all of last year with personal issues and a lacerated kidney. Sophomores James Rodgers and Darrell Catchings had great debut campaigns and should play even bigger roles this year. Rodgers is an explosive playmaker and even rushed for 586 yards almost exclusively on reverses. The 5-7 speedster only caught 19 passes, but certainly has the ability to do more than just run. Stroughter, despite only playing in three games and catching 15 passes, was still second on the team with just two touchdown receptions. The passing touchdown numbers will have to be bolstered across the board and having Stroughter back and a receiver named Catchings should help.
Oregon State's Weaknesses:
It is not the receivers who should be blamed for the lack of touchdowns through the air. Quarterbacks Sean Canfield and Lyle Moevao both had opportunities to boost the offensive production, but Canfield threw just nine touchdowns and had 15 interceptions. Moevao had a worse ratio, tallying two touchdowns and six picks. The lack of consistency at quarterback is a big problem, especially if the running game takes some time to develop. The other huge concern is replacing the entire defensive front seven. Linebackers Derrick Doggett, Alan Darlin and Joey LaRocque have been around forever and have finally run out of eligibility. There are some experienced linebackers like Bryant Cornell, Isaiah Cook and Keaton Kristick and some younger player with potential like Keith Pankey and Dwight Roberson, but the trio of lost starters will be missed for quite some time. The entire defensive line will be missed as well. Not only are the four starters gone, but three other lettermen were seniors.
The Bottom Line for the Beavers:
Even if the defense can come close to being the best rush defense in the nation again, the offense still has too many questions. Even their best lineman, guard Roy Schuening, is gone. However, Jeremy Perry is healthy after missing most of last season. Another bowl game is certainly a possibility, but the team that has quietly been second to only USC in the conference will have to give up that title for at least a year.
2007 Oregon State Beavers Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 174.92 (40th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 196.69 (87, 8)
Total Offense: 371.62 (78, 8)
Scoring Offense: 27.85 (58, 7)
Rushing Defense: 70.62 (1, 1)
Pass Defense: 235.54 (72, 6)
Total Defense: 306.15 (8, 2)
Scoring Defense: 22.62 (33, 4)
Turnover Margin: .00 (55, 5)
Sacks: 3.38 (4, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 2.77 (102, 7)
By Joel Welser
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